Summer is here which means it is time to plan a weekend trip or staycation in Houston. There are so many choices on where to stay, but none are as close to such a wide variety of dining, shopping and fun activities as the Royal Sonesta Houston and Marriot Marquis.
Royal Sonesta Houston recently underwent a $30-million renovation which transformed the already iconic property. The rooms are large and decorated in cool tones with accents of metal and wood. The meeting and ballroom areas are spacious, but it is the location that can’t be beat. Royal Sonesta is located minutes away from the Houston Galleria, River Oaks District and Uptown Park all of which have numerous restaurants, activities and high-end shopping. The Galleria area is also centrally located within Houston so getting to the Texas Medical Center, NRG Stadium, downtown and Museum District is not only easy, but efficient.
Although there are many dining options around Royal Sonesta, you should take advantage of the restaurants within the hotel. ARA is a full-service restaurant with a well-rounded menu and Axis Lounge is a casual bar perfect for watching the game with friends. Both ARA and Axis Lounge’s menus were created by veteran Chef Robert Graham.
The menu at Axis is an elevated bar menu with distinct flavors – you’ll want to order a few dishes to share when you go. Chicken Liver Pate –I know that many people would be turned off by this dish, but I must tell you that it is simply delicious. There is no gamey taste or texture to the pate, it is very smooth and has a great consistency and the crispy baguettes and honey round out the dish as perfect accompaniments. Shishito peppers are offered at many places, but the Charred Shishitos at Axis are cooked and seasoned perfectly – a definite must. I saw Carnitas Pizzadilla on the menu and was immediately intrigued, something with that name could be either good or go completely in the opposite direction. I was pleasantly surprised that it was the former. Imagine a cojita cheese quesadilla topped with carnitas, jalapenos, salsa roja, scallions and then cooked like a pizza. The flavors meld together to make a tasty dish. Don’t forget to order a cocktail from the signature drink menu – the Tiki Rita and Lone Star Sidecar are both winners.
The Marriot Marquis, located in downtown Houston has a lazy river in the shape of Texas on its roof, 29 floors and 1,000 guest rooms. The larger than life hotel was completed just in time for Super Bowl LI and has seen its fair share of high profile guests and celebrities. You don’t have to be famous however to enjoy all the amenities this hotel has to offer.
During the warm months, the whole family will enjoy the enormous pool area and lazy river. There is even an area that is clear and juts out over the side of the hotel so you feel like you are suspended over Houston. The river is 3.6 feet deep and 510 feet long, so it takes about 15 minutes to go around Texas in an inner tube. The lobby is grand and covers about one city block – it is easy to get lost in this enormous hotel. Each corner is flanked by a shop or restaurant. Guests won’t have to leave the hotel area to get a good meal, because there are so many dining options. Dine at sports bar Biggio’s which is named after Houston Astros legend Craig Biggio or Xochi with a menu created by James Beard award winning chef Hugo Ortega. Guests can also dine at Walker Street Kitchen which celebrates the Gulf Coast flavor, or fast casual coffee shop Texas T, Cueva which serves tapas and has an extensive bar menu or swim up to High Dive while you’re out at the pool for causal poolside fare.
The Marriot Marquis is also directly across the street from Discovery Green which has a calendar full of fun activities for the whole family. Many of Houston’s award-winning stage performances and sports arenas are also minutes away from the hotel, so the location just can’t be beat.
Traveling or planning a staycation in Houston just got a little easier with these two hotels. Eat, drink, shop and explore this summer in Houston.